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Syria: ancient civilizations of the Middle East

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Syria (Al-Jumūhrīyā al-‘Arabīya as-Sūrīyā) is a presidential republic of the Middle East. This battered territory borders Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, Lebanon and Israel to the southwest, and is washed by the Mediterranean Sea to the west. The most important city is the capital Damascus, other cities are Aleppo, Homs, Latakia and Hama.

Syria territory is formed for the most part by an arid plateau that extends towards the east, stopped in the northeast from the fertile region of Al-Jazira (Mesopotamia), a vast cultivated plains where flows the Euphrates river, while to the south-east lies the vast Syriac desert.

To the west the coastline is occupied by a narrow flat area and by the mountains of Jabal an Nusayriyah that run parallel to the coast until the border with Lebanon. Here is the tectonic depression of Al Ghab, a fertile irrigated area crossed by the Orontes river.

The border with Lebanon is marked by Anti-Lebanon mountains, where is the highest peak in the country, Mount Hermon (Jabal ash Shaykh, 2,814 meters) here in south-west lies the Hawran (Hauran ) region, an important agricultural area and on the border with Israel is the hilly region of the Golan Heights.


The main rivers of the country are the Euphrates, which flows in the north-eastern part of the country for almost 700 km. The Orontes that cross the western part of the country from north to south touching the cities of Homs and Hama. The Tigris, which marks the border with Turkey for a short distance in the far north-east.

Syria’s economy is based on agriculture. Wheat, barley, vegetables, tobacco, potatoes, grapes, olives, cotton, fruit, citrus are grown. Breeding (sheep, goat, cattle) and crafts (silk fabrics, rugs, brass, copper, silver objects) are also important economic activities.

Subsoil resources include oil, natural gas, phosphates, rock salt, chromium, manganese, iron and asbestos. The industry is based on the transformation of local agricultural products and on the textile sector. An important source of wealth was given by the tourism industry. With the current civil war, tourism has collapsed.

The climate of Syria.

  • Area: 185,180 sqkm. (Arable 2%, Pastures 45%, Forests and Woodlands 3%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 50%)
  • Population: 19,405,000 (2007 data) (Arabs 90%, Kurds, Armenians, Turks)
  • State Capital: Damascus.
  • Languages: The official language is Arabic.
  • Religion: Muslim 90% (Sunni 74%, Alawis, Druze), Christian 10% (Orthodox 5%, Catholic 2%).
  • Currency: Syrian pound (SYP)
  • Time: UTC +2 hours (Summer UTC +3 hours).



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